Grinch, Scrooge, sourpuss, call me what you will but this time of year (post Halloween time) I get a little more grumpy than usual. It is a bit late in the year to be ranting about how awful the holidays can be, but today was a bit of a high for me as far as human interaction and behavior is concerned.
I like to think that I live a simple life with simple, and logical desires. Having spent the passed four hours in shopping malls and toy stores, I have come across a plethora of human beings in a confined location. The sheer volume of people putting so much effort and stress over something such as a gift got me questioning the ideology of the gifting tradition as a whole. To see people get so worked up and to have their kids kicking and screaming so everyone can be “happy” for the holidays seems ironic. The expected happiness as a result of these gifts seems almost forced given the time and effort one takes in deciding and purchasing said things.
The last I checked, gifts were supposed to be given as rewards for good behavior. This seems like a universal and broad definition that everyone can agree on. That being said, children who kick, scream, and act out in public are not showing good behavior and therefor are undeserving of a gift in the first place. Seeing children throw temper tantrums in Toys ‘R’ Us makes me not want to procreate, period. This behavior tells me that children use their wild emotions to get something back in return which implies that they’re being fake and they are aware of it too.
To relate to my personal life, I have chosen to give gifts to all five of my siblings. Not all of them have been the nicest people and I can think of many reasons why they do not deserve gifts. My sister for one, is started her first year of high school this fall and she is by no means getting good grades. The last I heard from one of her conversations is that she ended up failing more than one class. Failure does not deserve a reward big or small. On top of that, three out of my five siblings are not very nice to each other on a day to day basis and have bad household habits. They do not pick up after themselves, they are loud at early hours of the day, and they keep expecting their parents to get them newer things to keep up with everyone else who is making better decisions in life. Every request they make is a struggle of a decision for the parents and I see a problem with this entire process. There should not be a pending process for gifts. Good behavior and good actions should be recognized and one should not have to ask to be rewarded.
All of this aside, I’ve convinced myself to buy them gifts. It is after my money has been spent that I am becoming more critical of my family. If I am playing the role of Santa, who “…knows if you’ve been bad or good….” then you need to convince me that you are worthy of being rewarded.
This gift giving process has me never wanting to ask for gifts from other people. I really wouldn’t want to put others through the stresses I have been through. Part of why it was difficult to tell others what I wanted as a holiday gift was because I already bought the things I wanted. All in all, the damage has been done. I guess part of the reason I buy gifts is to relieve the questionable guilt of being the quiet one.
People say I am not there for my family, and this is primarily true. Not everyone is compatible with their own family. We are not going to get along with everyone we come into contact with. Sure we could all fake get along, and we practice this in our daily lives when we go out to the grocery store, when we’re at work, when we are waiting in line at the DMV. Accepting that we will not get along with everyone and that there is a specific type of personality that we wish to surround ourselves with is a step towards bettering ourselves and individuals. I can see myself being more critical with my family and getting gifts for others. Call it selfish, mean, and greedy. I am not trying to say that gifts should be outlawed entirely. I am simply concluding that our reason for gifting has become drastically distorted. Receiving gifts has become an implied right to passage and just comes with age; this I do not agree with. Maybe the absence of these implied and expected gifts is what we need in order to get our priorities straight.
My head hurts from being out in shopping malls that smell like too much perfume and cologne. I am glad to be home and have done something selfless. I am thankful I have my friends and loved ones in my life to hear me out and give me different perspectives on life. The holidays are approaching an end and I could not be happier and hope I can be a little more prepared for next year.